Back from Berlin. Been awake for 39 hours. Here’s what I remember:

First three screenings were to sold-out houses. Another screening is set for Feb. 14th. It too is sold out.

Audiences came curious, as opposed to skeptical. This helped give the film a chance to work on them. John Densmore was with me for the first 2 screenings. The crowd loved him. He stated once again his total support for the film.

Strong response from critics and buyers. Here’s one review:

Already offers for theatrical releases in England and France. More territories to follow.

Johnny Depp is doing the narration. Hope to have it in when the film screens next at the South By Southwest festival in March.

Many thanks to Elaine for keeping it together while I was gone.

Will write more when brain catches up to me. I think I lost it somewhere over Greenland.

Posted by:Tom

132 thoughts on “ 55. ROUND 2 ”

  1. Wow, Tom! Great pic, and more than happy to help with the links and such. If only there was a “URL gal” career out there…hmmm. It’s so much more interesting digging up gold on the internet than my boring day job!

    Know you must be jet-lagged like crazy, but glad to hear the news and strong response to the film! Rest up, here’s hoping your brain eventually comes back to NYC!!

    I do hope that Wolf Films plans to do some kind of promotion/advertising on its Law & Order episodes to announce its release in theatres. Based on the people at work I talked to–they aren’t the type to surf the message boards on the Doors, some aren’t even the type to go to movies often, so previews may not reach them–but they ARE the type to relax at night and watch Law & Order. When Wolf Films created its Criminal Intent series, there was weeks and weeks of promotion flickers at the bottom right of the TV screen. I hope they can do something similar for “When You’re Strange.”

    So can’t wait to see this film!!!


  2. Welcome home.
    Funny, I just read about Johnny Depp and came on over to confirm the rumor. Congrats on Berlin! If you get bored at SXSW, have your monkey butler drive you down to Dallas – we’ll party in your limo. 🙂

    Now go have a glass of wine and relax!


  3. Tom, welcome back! And, yes, hats off to Elaine for holding down the fort (BTW, I did check out your blog/myspace, nice stuff)

    Regarding the movie;

    Someday soon
    Someday soon
    Familiar freaks will fill your living room
    Run, slash out their lizard tongues
    You’re not getting young
    You’re not getting young

    And I hate to remind you but you’re going to die
    And you’re going to be needing all of your life

    You’ll be all alone
    When the cannibals cry
    All by yourself
    Inside infancy’s lie

    Someday soon
    Someday soon
    Television bleeding like a harvest moon
    Flush the scissors down the hole
    You’re getting old
    You’re getting old

    And I hate to remind you but your going to die
    And you’re going to be needing all of your life

    You’ll be all alone
    When the cannibals cry
    All by yourself
    Inside infancy’s lie

    Someday soon
    Someday soon
    Someday soon
    Someday soon

    The Doors/~1969

  4. Much thanks for the kind words, Mario!

    Tom, seeing Mona back on the comments reminds me–when things settle down and time is more available (time? what time?!?!?!) it’d be a great idea to utilize MySpace to put bulletin updates on the film there–definitely for the release date, but maybe a conference sum-up once you’re back from SXSW? Just a thought 🙂

    Guess the last screening for Berlin is tonight…I’ll be sifting through Internet gold tomorrow to see if I can find any updates 🙂 Enjoy the weekend!


  5. Hey Tom,

    Any word on how the last screening went on 2/14? Hope you’re catching up on sleep and knowing what time zone you’re in 🙂

    Found an exciting article on Rhino Entertainment’s website. Apparently the soundtrack for “When You’re Strange” is being released this summer, 2009. Article URL is below:

    Some other goodies:

    Article on documentary channel:

    Article on sundance site:

    In my quest for gold on the internet’s many pages, I also came across the below. It’s from 2007 and talks more about screenwriting/filmmaking than any specific project, but I thought the article was interesting and informative. The site’s page links between the articles no longer work–so I’ve pasted both URL links below to use.

    IndieWire Screenwriters Panel 1: (2007)

    IndieWire Screenwriters Panel 2: (2007)



  6. hey, their was a picture problem at the last screening. It was really full at the cinema and the audience loved the movie, but there seemed to be a problem with the chosen format at the screen. the format was too big so that the picture didnt fit correctly.
    Congratulations Tom and all the best from Berlin!

  7. Hi Tom .I just got back from Berlin !
    I have to tell you that i absolutely thank you for the experience!
    The Documentary was absolutely wonderful ! The footage was crystal clear ,the narration was perfect (in contrast of some Assholes reviewers that say that the narration is shitty!).I knew all the story telling but you have done an EXCELLENT job introducing the DOORS to new fans !!
    I am not a reviewer ,i am just a hardcore Doors fan who wwas lucky to see the Film in the Berlinale festival and i say its absolutely PERFECT !
    Oh i must say that the people who havent seen the Docu yet ,you must se it on a big screen !its an absolutely different awsome experience!
    I was stunned by all this new footage.All the hwy outtakes and footages is like its filmed yesterday !I was absolutely stunned!
    all the new fotage is awsome !
    MY colnclusion from what i have seen,read and listened for ovr 10 years is that this Documentary-film is the REAL story of The Doors !
    I cant wait to see it again!I am dead serious!
    please bring it to Greece
    My trip to Berlin was absolutely worth it!!!
    Thank you Tom and the guys behind this documentary!and of cours The Doors!
    PS you should be there to listen to the applause in the Colluseum theatre!

  8. Hey Mona,
    Don’t got no monkey butler.
    Only gots me monkey brain.

    Yeah, the rumor of Depp is true. I’m very happy about it. Hope ur well.
    My brain is close by, about to enter US air space.

  9. Hey James,
    I know for a fact a UK distributor has made a serious offer for a theatrical release. Of course, many things can happen before the deal gets sealed but I will keep you informed.

  10. Richard Griffiths,
    Nobody’s forgettin’ you, mate. Usually the UK deal is for all English speaking territories, including Australia. So, keep your eyes open.

  11. Hey Elaine,
    Thanks muchly for digging through all the cyber muck to find these links. I’m actually enjoying watching a few of them. Especially the ones where I look 10,000 years old.

    Good idea about the MySpace. But, I’m so busy these days I rarely get a chance to even look over there. It’s just here on the blog and Doors, Doors, Doors.

    You’re a wonder.

  12. Hey Kato,
    Thanks very much for this info. There was also a sound problem when I was there. The Berlin festival staff were very helpful and concerned and I thought we’d worked out all the tech stuff.
    I’m glad you liked the film.

  13. Well, well Teo.
    You certainly made me smile. Thanks very much for this eyewitness account.
    More than anything I am glad you feel your trip to Berlin was worth it. God, what would I have done if you’d hated the film?!!
    But, I am seriously pleased that you enjoyed it. I agree with you; the film needs to be seen on the big screen. A huge amount of work went into the sound mix (Dolby 5.0) and the images.
    Bigger than life; that is my motto.
    I think it is very possible the film will come to Greece. And if it does, and I get invited, I promise you this: I’ll call you and we’ll drink quite a few beers.
    Your email made me wish I was there at the screening.

  14. Ciao Marcello,
    There is no specific news of an Italian release just yet. But, we have a foreign sales agent working for the film and their job is to try and get theatrical deals from all international territories.
    I would really love to get a release in Italy.
    As soon as I hear anything I will let you know.

  15. Hi Tom, the word on the street from true Doors fans who have seen this is….. mind blowing. Two people who I know which are Doors junkies said this is a total Doors experience unlike they’ve ever seen. WOW!!!!!! Can you please tell us when Johnny Depp starts recording and when do you think the first viewing with him in it will take place? Lastly, can you give us anything new as far as a US distributor? Will this hit the US by Summer or Fall? Thanks Tom, all the best.

  16. Hi Tom, me again I almost forgot great to see the website up and running and last but not least just a quick heads up they spelled your name wrong in the trailor. It’s spelled DiCillio in it. Just thought you should know. Rock on.

  17. hi tom i was just wondering if your gonna relese this on dvd soon because me and my dad love the doors he even was at a party with ray
    but he is too sick to go to festivils and stuff like that and he really wants to see this so i was just wondering

  18. Hey Baron,
    Great to hear from you and sincerely, thanks for the words of support.
    My understanding is that Johnny Depp will begin recording within the next few weeks. The pressure is on because we want to screen the new version at SouthbySoutwest on March 15. I really want his voice in by then. If so, that would be the next official screening.
    I don’t think the film should screen again with my voice. I’m not cranky about it–that just seems to be the way people feel. It’s fine by me. My voice was always intended to be temporary until we got a real narrator.
    The US distributors are still approaching and negotiating. We all feel they will seriously come around once Johnny’s voice is in. No way of knowing a US release date until we get a distributor.
    Where exactly is my name mispelled? Which site?
    thanks Baron.

  19. Hey Mark,
    Sorry about your dad. Yes, the film will be released on DVD but not exactly sure when. I know for a fact it will be out within a year.

  20. Hi Tom,
    after some “silly” reviews in Sundance, Berlin was very hopefull ! ;o)
    I’m very glad to read all these GOOD reviews !
    And the fact that Johnny Depp will be the narrator is great !
    I think it will “boost” the international distributors deals !

    You talked about UK deal for all English speaking territories, but what about a French deal for theatrical release ?
    Is it in a good way ?
    And when ?
    I’m very in a hurry to see it on a BIG screen and with a BIG sound !!!
    Tell me, tell me !!! ;o)

    Thank you for all !


  21. Hey Tom Pao,
    Yes, the French offers came in at the same time the UK. Very strong interest from France for a real theatrical release. Once again, we need to see how the deals get finished before anything is final but I really feel a theatrical release in France is going to happen.
    And then you can see Big and hear Big.

  22. It’s mispelled on the actual trailor which is playing at both the site and the WYS new website. Same Trailor two different sites. It’s the only trailor I’ve seen out there but when they show your name in it, it’s spelled DiCillio. Hope this helps.

  23. Thanks, Tom 🙂

    Thought I’d mention something in my blogaholic quest…and no, I don’t randomly memorize blog dates. It’s just that I discovered you had a blog last year around this time.

    One year ago yesterday (Feb 16) you had just relocated out to LA and posted your first blog about the Doors project. URL is One year later, the film is received well by audiences, you’ve been to 2 festivals, have worldwide distribution, and are attending another festival in March. Not to mention that you’ve done a zillion press interviews in the midst of that (nah, you don’t look 10,000 years old!)

    You’ve accomplished more in one year than film critics do in a lifetime, my friend. I’m impressed 🙂

    Wish you the best for getting Depp recorded and for SXSW. Do you have to go out to LA again to update the film before then?


  24. Thanks to Baron, David and Elaine for pointing out the spelling error in the trailer. It is nice to see the Official site up.

    Also interesting to see the blog Elaine reminded me I’d written after I first got to LA to start work on the film. Notice the anticipated length of work: “2 months.”

    Someone at the front office certainly miscalculated. I’ve now been working on the film for over a year. And I’ve loved every minute. Well, you know; almost every minute.

  25. Hi Tom,

    We saw When Your’re Strange at the 59. Berlinale at the fourth showing: unfortunately we missed you. Anyway, we really liked your film, and reviewed it. Here’s a link to the review:

    Maybe you could add this link under your WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE heading in the right column? Your readers might find it interesting.

    Being a long-time Doors fan, I want to thank you for a great film, which has me thinking about the Doors and their music again.

    With the very best regards,

    Gary Levinson

    Gary Levinson, Executive Editor
    D-12249 Berlin

  26. Hey Tom,

    Hard to believe it’s been a year since that first Doors post but just think of all the cool people you’ve met! I think you should let Tregor audition for your next film! Maybe a Samurai sword dream sequence could work?! Haha.

    As for the DVD release, WYS is available for queing in Netflix now. I plan to buy the DVD but the good thing abt Netflix Queue is that it will save your option and list a date when one comes available. Easier than googling or checking Amazon for updates. Just a thought.


  27. Mr.Tom Dicillo,

    Too bad you didn’t read “Break On Through”: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison. Over 40 people interviewed who knew Morrison as best as could. Plus New York Times ranks it as “the most objective, thorough, and professional Morrison biography.”

    I kind of know one of the authors. There’s only one title – what Morrison and each and everyone of us are trying to do, whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually, and that is to “break on through.”


  28. Hey Jerry,
    Thanks for writing. I did read the book actually and found it very useful. Keep in mind that the film is not the Story of Jim Morrison, but the story of The Doors. So, while there is an enormous amount of material about Jim in “Break On Through”: the life and death of Jim Morrison, the inclusion of it all would have unbalanced the film to the detriment of Ray, John and Robby.

  29. hey tom!

    i tried my best to see your film in Berlin…unfortunately for me but great for you, they were sold out. i did try the rush line for the first two screenings too! congrats on such an awesome turnout!

    so the info and screening times for the film i produced, at the MOMA are:

    The Death of Alice Blue

    2008. Canada. Written and directed by Park Bench. With Bench, Alex Appel, Kristen Holden-Reid. A young woman goes to work for an advertising agency and finds that her new job is a dead end in more ways than one. Why is she not surprised? This punkish, hyperreal spin on the vampire-beside-you genre is a clever reminder that there is still young blood in this old story. Hypnotic music, bone-dry performances, and a darkly comic take on the business of doing business meld into a truly captivating whole. 87 min. (World premiere)

    Friday, March 20, 2009, 8:30 p.m., Theater 1, T1

    Sunday, March 22, 2009, 3:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2

    and here’s the link:

    if you’d like me to get tickets for you just fire me an email. hope you can make it! i remember seeing “Living in Oblivion” in the theatre with my mom and i told her ‘I want to work with THAT director one day!’ and then of course along came “The Real Blonde” 😉 i don’t think i told you that at the time cause i was too shy (or ‘in character’lol!)



  30. “Break on Through” is a great book. It should be everyone’s first stop. Until Tom’s movie comes out; then that should be the first stop. Jeff

  31. Hi Tom

    Good news on all. How are things shaping up on your next project? Or are you too deep in Doors delirium to beginning going into that?



  32. The mailman delivered the WHEN YOUR STRANGE poster yesterday. Incredible. Unfortunately it now has to go straight to the frame shop.

    I had this “strange” idea while having a beer sitting next to the fire. There will probably be a “premier” when Tom’s film is launched.


    Five to One

    One in Five

    Come together one more time
    Get together one more time
    Get together one more time
    Get together, aha
    Get together one more time!
    Get together one more time!
    Get together one more time
    Get together one more time
    Get together, gotta, get together

  33. Hey Tom,

    Well, youtube held some surprises this morning. Seems you and the actual film appear to be famous for simply walking down the street. Who knew folks would capture the film’s transport into the truck, and you and John Densmore arriving in Berlin?

    Doors film on way to Berlinale:

    Tom and John arriving at Berlinale:

    For anyone who hasn’t seen Tom’s other films, you’re missing out on some of the best humor and heartwarming moments ever! Found the Oblivion trailer and had my morning laugh- thx Tom!

    Living in Oblivion trailer:


  34. Hey Alex,
    Congratulations on the MOMA screening. Thanks for trying to get to see When You’re Strange in Berlin. I will do the same for your film. I may be in Austin but let’s see what shakes down.

  35. Hey K,
    Well, I am trying to move the other projects forward. Still a lot of stuff with the Doors film occupying my creative and physical energies.
    As soon as I get a few days of clear time I’m going to start writing another screenplay.
    It’s kind of a weird time in the film business now. For a lot of people there is a sense that no one knows the landscape any more. No one knows what an independent film is. No one wants to give nobody no money.

  36. Hey Mario,
    You sure got your Doors lyrics down. What, you ordered a poster from the Doors site?
    I’m hoping there will indeed be a US premiere. Still no news on a US distributor but we’re confident that the latest version with Johnny Depp’s voice will give us a leg up.
    “I’ve got a friend inside.”

  37. Hey Elaine,
    Very interesting clips. Brings back memories: of 4 or 5 double espressos to stay awake and 3 scotches to take the edge off.

    During a screening Jeff Jampol spotted a few camcorders in the audience and requested the film. Seems a few folks were filming the film itself.

    This week should determine how and when Johnny Depp’s voice goes in.

  38. Hey Elaine,

    I uploaded those two videos on youtube a couple of days ago…just hadn’t the time to link them here 😉
    I was working for the Panorama-Section of the festival in Berlin and as a big Doors fan I couldn’t resist to make that clip.



  39. Cool, Kato! Actually I found the clips interesting, particularly the one of the film going in the truck. Kind of gave the film its own story, ya know?

    Tom – expressos and scotch…yep, been there, done that! Hope things go well w/Depp’s voice going in, and good luck starting that new screenplay too! The first blank page is the hardest part. Once we tackle that white, glaring beast, things go smoother.


  40. “If my poetry aims to achieve anything,
    it’s to deliver people from the limited ways in
    which they see and feel.”

    Jim Morrison

    Los Angles, CA 1970

  41. Mario-

    WOW. Excellent nugget from Morrison!!!! I’m going to have to print that quote up and hang it next to my desk where I write! Thx!!!

    Tom, is SXSW like Sundance/Berlin where they’ll have several screenings over several days? Hope Depp recording plans are going well…


  42. Hi Elaine,
    I was going to post this in a formal blog but time keeps jumping by me. Johnny Depp had a schedule conflict this week and thus won’t be able to record until next week some time. This will make it impossible to get his voice cut in for SXSW. I’m disappointed because I’ve heard a lot about the festival and was really looking forward to unveiling the new version there.

    The festival was extremely gracious when they heard the news–a disappoint for them as well on such short notice.

    But we are all in agreement that the film should not screen again until Johnny’s voice is in. My voice was always intended to be temporary. Now we have a real narrator. It’s better for the film to wait until we have it right.

  43. So the film won’t be screening at SXSW?

    And I was wondering, is Johnny going to narrate what you narrated in the temporary version of the film or are you working on a new narration together?


  44. Hey Tom,

    Sorry to hear the news, but glad SXSW was gracious about it. Guess you’ll have to get down to Texas another day. Just think of the opportunities to view things in the shape of Texas that you’re missing out on…every airport in TX that I’ve been to, they’ve sold perfume, mouse pads, potpourri, jewelry, book covers, you name it–all in the shape of Texas 🙂 It’s a surreal experience. (Hmm…much like Los Angeles, come to think of it…)

    Good luck getting Depp recorded next week and keep us posted, thx!


  45. Hey Alfredo,
    No, the film will not be ready in time for SXSW. Johnny will narrate what was in the original film with some tweaks I made to strengthen the narration. I cut quite a bit out actually and the film plays much better.
    So, you see–we learn.

  46. Hey Tom, greetings from New Zealand. Saw the news about Depp’s narration and thought I’d stop through and check out the good word.

    Its becoming more and more apparent to me that the role of the critic is becoming increasingly less relevant in filmmaking and art. If fans, critics or viewers can’t appreciate a film for its honesty even when the fucking subjects endorse it, then why the fuck is anyone listening to them in the first place? Fuck printing a glowing bit from some two-bit review website. Throw up a quote from Ray because that should certainly mean more to your core audience then what Harry Knowles’ fatass has to say.

    Really excited to check out the finished film. Depp’s narration of Gonzo was spot on and I imagine he’ll bring a pretty unique sensibility to this material as well.

    Take it easy Tom and I’ll be sure to keep in touch a little better in the coming months.


  47. Thanks Elaine!

    My interest in The Doors was rekindle shortly after 11 Sept. On the heals of that, I lost my best friend here in Colo, Mark, and his family in an airplane tragedy. Mark and I grew up together in Jersey and somehow reconnected out here.

    I started to have these lyrics constantly running through my head;
    House upon the hill
    Moon is lying still
    Shadows of the trees
    Witnessing the wild breeze
    C’mon baby run with me
    Let’s run!

    One day I broke down and bought the CD, Waiting for the Sun. I hadn’t bought a cd in many years. (kids)
    Not to touch the earth
    Not to see the sun
    Nothing left to do, but
    Run, run, run
    Lets run
    Lets run

    Love Street was on there too.

    Things just started to happen. . .

    My wife gave me this George Winston cd, — Night Divides The Day. About a year or two later, a guy a work (SF) gave me some Doors bootlegs!

    The live tapes blew my mind. As Tom says, there was something in this music speaking to me!

    I gained admiration. I like adventure – a journey.
    Visual imagery, nature, caves, fire, wind, reptiles, blood, love. . .

    11 Sept. changed everything.

    Certainly my sensibilities, what ever sensibilities I had.

    I started Goggling lyrics. One link just led to another. Entanglement physics.
    I found a bottomless trove of information. Sure some is crap, but a lot is amazing stuff, interviews, set lists, timelines, YouTube and The When Your Strange blog!!! (My first blog btw.)

    In the end — its all about the music.

    I keep wanting to transport my self back to those days of sheer adventure. Driving a VW Microbus up the coast to a gig in SF!

    It occurred to me today that me stress relief, i.e, researching and listening to The Doors might be Tom’s greatest source of stress.

    I have a ton of respect for guys like Tom.

  48. Hey Noah,
    Great to hear from you as usual. I heard you were down under for a while. I hope you’re getting in that ocean.

    I appreciate your comment and think it typically astute of you to suggest getting the Doors to state their own strong committment to the film I’ve made about them. I’m going to contact them and see if they’ll write down a paragraph or two.

    I also greatly welcome the passion of your comment. The lunacy of some of the reactions clearly pissed you off too. The only reason I made references to other reviews was to show that there are other opinions out there. The best thing of course would be for people not to read ANY reviews and just go see the movie with fresh, open minds. But, the absurd “importance” some folks were placing on one or two reviews was ludicrous to me and I wanted to let readers know that these were in fact nothing more or less than SOMEONE’S OPINIONS.

    I know you didn’t mean it negatively but I happen to believe there are no 2-bit reviews. The only thing that makes something a 1-bit review is the created “stature” of its source. I don’t think the 2-bit reviews I noted are any more (or less) valid than the reviews that appeared in the more, shall we say–1-bit publications.

    Is a review in the LA Times more meaningful than a review from a college kid tinkering with his own website? I think they’re equally valid but I know many, many people disagree and whole worlds of incestious public relations have sprung up to perpetuate this belief. A review in the NY Times can kill a film. The college kid’s can’t. Is that what makes the NY Times 1-bit?

    I knew I guy at the corner deli who saw every independent film that came into NYC; US and foreign. To hear him talk about them all in detail while he was slicing salami was truly inspiring. I went to many films based on his recommendation, both for and against.

    I think that if people open their eyes they will see the artificial hierarchy of formalized “opinion” as nothing more than a business; a form of merchandizing that serves only to give a film something to trumpet in the ads and to give the critic importance as he chooses which film upon which to hang his hollow ornaments of honor.

    Aw fuck. I just fell off my soapbox.

    Really great to hear from you, Noah. And a really smart suggestion. Keep in touch me brotha.


  49. Hey Tom, will we ever hear the version you did for Sundance in the DVD down the road? I think most Doors freaks would love to hear both versions. I hope the “old” version is not lost forever. Thanks.

  50. Hey Tom,

    I second Baron’s request, though I’m not sure how feasible it is to put both versions on the DVD. I’d enjoy hearing both–you’re one of the few directors whose commentaries I enjoy, as opposed to tolerate. I’ve listened to all of them more than once. For many a filmmaker out there, I’ve had high hopes but wound up shutting the thing off after 20 minutes.

    Let us know how Depp’s recording goes!


  51. Tom,
    I have read the reviews, the whole shebang from Sundance to Berlin and here. Whilst some critique, it is certainly a masterpiece and an artful and touching glance back into history. In essence you have linked the humanity (people) with the myth, and fans and the Doors family are all the better for it. Cant wait to see it!!!!


  52. I saw, ‘When your Strange’ while I was at Sundance. I really liked it a lot – I’m not particularly a big DOORS fan but I thought it was a very well put together and interesting documentary. I wish Tom was there to do a Q&A afterward, but they said he had to go to Cali to handle business.

    I didn’t realize til just now after reading it on the site that Johnny Depp did the narration – I guess now it makes sense.

    Good stuff here…better than Oliver Stone’s THE DOORS – considering this is the real deal and not Val Kilmer’s lame interpretation of it. After the Maysles brothers ‘GIMME SHELTER’, I’d put this as my second favorite rock n roll related documentary. I loved the 8mm & 16mm footage that was prominant throughout the documentary.


  53. I just have to ammend what I just wrote in my comment. I said I saw the film at Sundance and it didn’t realize that it was Johnny’s Depp voice.

    Now upon carefully reading the website I didn’t realize your still in the process of doing the voice over and that wasn’t Johnny Depps voice.

    Good move on your part. Can’t wait to see it again!


  54. I actually sort of agree that no review is any more relevant or important than another unless we continue to assign importance to them based on apparent “legitimacy”. I love the deli anecdote and it really does speak volumes about the power of word of mouth. I remember reading dozens of reviews of Trumbo, many of which cited it as inherently biased and imbalanced giving me the impression that it was somehow dishonest. After talking to people who had seen it without prior convictions over what SHOULD be in the film, I simply saw it for myself. I loved it. It didn’t have delusions about what it was trying to do and I didn’t see the problem with memorializing an important Hollywood figure or his influence therein (I mean was his son supposed to throw him under the bus in favor of a “fair and balanced” portrayal?)

    The only delusions at work a lot of the time seem to be viewers who feel they understand the material or what needs representing better than the filmmakers. Or in this case, the subjects.

  55. Hey Baron,
    I appreciate the interest but I don’t think there would be any value in keeping my narration around. I worked hard on it, and I think it served its function but we’re all hoping that Johnny Depp will bring something extra to it.
    Now, I still have the master tapes to my ‘old’ version and I suppose there is always the possibility that internet sales of it to individuals could be arranged for 8 or 9 dollars a word.
    Actually, I’m glad to be done with it.

  56. Hey Nik,
    Great to hear from you. Thanks for your words of support. I appreciate the efforts for Sydney Film Festival very much. Let’s see how quickly we can get Johnny’s voice cut in.

  57. Hey Zef,
    Thanks for writing. I’m glad you saw the film in Sundance. You must have gone to one of the last screenings because I was there for all but the final one. Can’t really take that place for more than 5 days.
    And I didn’t go to “Cali for business”. I went home to NYC to recuperate.
    I’m glad you liked the film. It is certainly high praise to place it near the company of the Maysles “Gimme Shelter’–a brilliant film. I too like the way the 16 and 8 mm film is cut in. I worked hard on the color correction to make everything look as rich as possible but sometimes the rough contrast of the early, slightly degraded footage cuts in with great surprise and beauty.
    Interesting to hear you thought that was the Depp narration at first. But, no–we’re still working on getting it recorded.

  58. Tom,

    8 or 9 dollars a word, huh? Temptation vs a quiet piggy bank 🙂 Hmm…

    Is the film set to screen anywhere else once Depp’s voice is in? Didn’t know if other festivals were in the works.

    Keep that great sense of humor! Have giggled a few times when reading your comments.

  59. Hi Tom!
    Nice news after Berlin! The screenings there were succesfull and now you have Johnny Depp doing the narration. Great election, sure this will helps the distribution of the film.

    I have read very good reviews from fans, not too fans, and even some critics. (I cant wait to see the film and make my own opinion!)
    It seem that finally you are getting the reward that your work and efforts on this film deserves.

    The pity is that here in Spain the project is going unnoticed. The spanish media did’t pay attention on the film debut in Berlin… I hope this will change now with Johnny Depp support (and some press release to spanish media could raise interest -a little suggestion ;).

    I wish to see that nice restoration labour of film and sound in the big screen of theatres. I’m sure all the spanish fans of rock and documentary will be interested on “When you’re strange” so we hope to have the chance to enjoy your work in all its splendor.

    (sorry if my english is not very good 😉

    Suerte amigo!

  60. I’m looking forward to “When You’re Strange” and it sounds like it will be the movie event of the year (except for James Cameron’s “Avatar”). The only thing that drives me up the wall is the endless Oliver Stone bashing. Yeah, most people seem to wish it was less about Morrison’s self destruction but I think Stone had a right as an artist to examine what moved him. There’s also the Indian stuff but Stone never forgets it’s a “rock movie” and wanted to get his MTV licks in there. But his research (as always) was first rate and I don’t get why he’s constantly bashed. He’s always putting his derriere on the line in an industry that believes in “safety first”.
    The “criticism” that a documentary is more valid because it’s real footage, well, no kidding! You could say that about any documentary vs. a dramatic interpretation (though documentaries are also subject to a filmmaker’s interpretation and can’t be considered “the truth” just because they are documentaries). Stone said of his research the same thing that Tom did, that everybody he talked to had a different impression of Morrison. So what is the problem with different filmmakers’ impressions?
    The fact is Morrison was self-destructive. That Stone focused on that is his right as an artist. The only actual Door who was outright against the movie was Ray Manzarek, who got into squabbles with Stone early in the process. Both John Densmore and Robby Krieger have been supportive of the movie over the years, though not cheerleaders. Densmore said at Sundance he felt Val Kilmer should’ve got an Oscar nomination for it and that his performance gave him chills. I think Densmore knew Morrison better than these Stone critics.
    This doesn’t really have anything to do with Tom’s doc, I just wanted to balance out a theme in some of these posts. Thanks.

  61. Oh, I forgot to mention, about Stone’s film…Robby Krieger thanked Tom for acknowledging he wrote “Light My Fire”. That factoid is mentioned more than once in Stone’s “Doors” movie. In fact, Robby is portrayed bringing the song to the group. Which points up the advantage of a dramatic film, it allows the portrayal of events (with research) for which there is no documentary footage. Things like the creation of the band on the beach between Morrison and Manzarek, or the creation of “Light My Fire” are movingly portrayed. People can knock what Stone focuses on but there’s still a lot of Doors history on view.
    As to what this has to do with anything, for most of us Tom’s film is in the future but Stone’s film is readily available for excited Doors fans to check out while they wait for “When You’re Strange”. For those who haven’t actually seen it (hi Tom!) or those who saw it long ago and maybe forgot it’s good points. Or something to hate all over again.

  62. Interesting points, Jeff. Only yesterday, I watched a film and got into a long discussion w/friends about different points of view in films, portraying something (such as New York City, for example) from a variety of angles, depending upon the perspective of the artist. This particular film depicted NYC as gritty, grimy, violent, and terrible. Halfway through, one of them asked me, “Why on Earth would anyone ever live there?” That started the discussion; there are different perspectives.

    There’s the gritty NYC; there’s the Woody Allen NYC; there’s the Tom DiCillo NYC; the Ed Burns NYC, etc. Each focusing on something based upon point of view.

    I did rent Stone’s version of the Doors film recently, just to see what his version was like. Parts of it were interesting and enjoyable. Parts of it I found phony and hard to believe. I think, for me anyway, it was more difficult to “see” those researched, truthful moments in parts of Stone’s film. I have seen seen Frank Whaley (who plays Robby Krieger in the film) in so many goofball roles; it was hard to take him seriously enough to “see” those well researched moments that Stone obviously worked hard to get into the film. For that reason, I found it interesting but will probably be able to get more tidbit/goldmine of info out of “When You’re Strange” because I won’t be distracted by acting performances. Just a preference, but thought I’d add it to the mix 🙂

    I think, no matter what, many people are eagerly looking forward to seeing “When You’re Strange” when it does come out. For myself (and I’ve noted this to critics as well) – I will be the first in line to buy a ticket 🙂


  63. Hey Noah,
    Another well-reasoned note. You and I should start a joint site–where we smoke joints and float opinions back and forth. It would be fun.
    You have got me thinking though of attempting another blog on criticism. I stumbled upon something in my first reply to you that has still got me thinking: that what makes a critic legitimate, valid or respected is actually related to the power the public gives them to either support or destroy a piece of art.

  64. Hey Elaine,
    You know what Rush Limbaugh says about laughter; it and oxycontin are the best medicine.
    No news on Depp’s schedule yet.

  65. Hola David,
    Your English is better than some people from my home town.
    Thanks for your kind words. And don’t give up hope about Spain!! It is much to early for that. We are just starting the process of selling the film to all the European territories and I know Spain is on the list.
    Also, I think we are getting an invitation to bring the film to some festivals in Spain–like San Sebastian. That would be really great; to screen the film there on the gigantic screen with the incredible sound. When you see the film you will see why. The images are amazing and the story is bigger than life.
    Keep the faith.

  66. Hey there Jeff,
    Good to hear from you. You make some extremely valid points, and with considerable eloquence.

    You are absolutely right about the Stone bashing. It should stop. I hope I have not encouraged or condoned it because I do respect Stone’s right as a filmmaker to do whatever he wants. I suppose I have made it clear my opinion of the film–but don’t get me wrong–I have seen the whole film. I may have joked about not being able to get through it but I did manage it over a period of several years.

    And you are right that both Robby Kreiger and John Densmore are very open about their admiration for Stone and his film. My reactions have more to do with the style of the story-telling. Much of it I found unbelievable on some basic filmmaking levels; like acting, writing and staging of scenes.

    But, hey–that’s just my opinion. And you know what Rush Limbaugh says about opinions; they’re like assholes–everyone’s got one. And I understand he’s become quite an expert in that area.

    I don’t necessarily think that real footage (a documentary) is automatically ‘better’ than a staged fictional narrative. I’ve seen plenty of documentaries that reek of the same kind of manipulation and cheap effect as narrative films. I agree with you that people should stop making that comparison about When You’re Strange and Oliver Stone’s film. They share a mutual admiration and fascination with their subject but are totally seperate things.

    You mention that Stone also points out that Robby Kreiger wrote Light My Fire. This is a very well reasoned point. But here is a slightly different take on it. Stone’s film also includes some pretty whacky, fictionalized stuff that Stone made up like Jim and Pam meeting cute by him crawling through a kitchen window. To some people (like me) the inclusion of these artificial scenes with ones that are historically accurate confuses the viewer. It removes the power of truth from the actual moments because in accumulation it becomes hard to tell what is real and what is not.

    Therefore, I have to believe that the intensity of feeling I experienced when Robby took me aside and thanked me had something to do with the fact that I was pointing out his contribution in a film that’s sole intent was to be as honest and truthful as possible.

    A real pleasure to read your comments.


  67. Hey Tom,

    Sorry to veer off from Doors-centric jive. I do agree with you about the state of independent film being very fragile and confusing now. I’m trying to get my second picture of the ground at the moment and it’s all looking very scary. The whole scene you exploded out of in the 80’s & 90’s must seem very distant from the current climate, I’m not saying it was easy then either, but just different.

    Good luck with your next script, hope you get some free time to write!

    Do let us know if you have any UK screenings, there’s a pint on me waiting for you.


  68. Hey K.
    Yeah, it is about the strangest time for independent film I have ever seen. When the Doors film opens in the UK we both may need that pint; or three.

    In fact, we should open our own pub over there and call it the Film o’Tears. We’d serve free drinks to struggling filmmakers followed by a slap in the face; or a punch depending on how whiny or successful they are.

    The most disturbing trend for me is the ferociousness of the migration of the independent troop to the sticky sweet orchards of Hollywood. It is now a mindset; as engrained into the independent filmmaking consciousness as comparing opening weeekend box office results.

    But, how are things in the UK? Don’t you have national film funds to help filmmakers? I’ve heard the competition for this money is intense. How did your first film do? Where’d you get the money for that one?

    I find that the writing is the only secure thing that helps; besides the pint. It makes me feel like I’m doing something and in the end if I’m incredibly lucky I might end up with a screenplay. I am thinking more on the kinds of films I’d want to make though. In this climate there is little of the embrace for experimentation the independent scene ushered in.

    All you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  69. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your kind comments about my Oliver Stone post. I visit this blog as a Doors fan, not as Stone’s bodyguard. I don’t have any problem with legit criticisms of Stone, I just feel many people take easy swipes (“He’s a liar”, etc.) and Stone deserves better. I find his films fascinating because they are so personal. It’s been said his movies are as much about him as his subjects and I guess that’s the best way to look at it. Stone himself has said he tries to get at a larger truth. But he also does his research and backs up his movies (DVD commentaries, books) instead of just “pulling a fast one” and running for the hills. Which is the opposite of how many people portray him.
    So I understand your objection to invented “movie moments” but I often enjoy them as part of the “art” of it. So I guess it takes all kinds. Though I do wonder why he invented a daughter for Ray. He could’ve still had his farewell scene (juxtaposing childhood innocence with the end of the road)without making it Ray’s daughter. Many filmmakers change the story, combine characters and make arty choices in the name of having things flow and being entertaining; but when Stone does it it seems to become a federal case. Whether he’s right or wrong I think the criticisms and swipes are overblown against him.
    As a Doors fan have my share of the videos, books and CDs (including the excellent Bright Midnight “official bootlegs”). So we’ll see how much of “When You’re Strange” is new to me as far as footage, etc. I live in Southern California so I’m sure it’ll play near me in a theater. I’ll be there.
    I recently picked up the book “The Doors by the Doors” which seemed like a nice picture book but actually has a great selection of quotes and writing in it. I didn’t know for example that John became friends with the Morrison family during the Doors of the 21st Century situation (until then had never met the father whose death he had drummed to in “The End”). I always love John’s insights and I’m glad to hear he’s finished a second memoir (where’s Robby’s 1st? He wrote “Light My Fire”, he can certainly write a memoir!).
    In the book there’s a picture of Jim’s first girl Mary Werbelow. That’s a hot picture. After seeing that I googled her (sounds naughty!) and found out she has a myspace. Did you interview her? Of course she inspired “The End” (not written by Robby) so we all owe her a debt. A great version of that song is the Canadian TV version (seen on “Soundstage Performances”).
    Thanks for your time and your stimulating thoughts.

  70. Hey Jeff,
    I hear your affection for Oliver Stone and I respect it. I’ll make a deal with you. You stop talking about him making “personal” films and and I’ll stop describing them as “phony”.
    The info on Mary Werbelow is interesting. I make note of it in my film, pointing out that The End was inspired by her. But, I keep trying to make it clear this film is about The Doors, all four of them. Sure, an entire film could be made about Morrison but the point is I wanted to make a film about the whole band. If I spend a half hour talking about Jim’s highschool sweetheart don’t I have an obligation to talk about Robby’s first girlfriend, or John’s or Ray’s long relationship with Dorothy Fujikawa?
    My film is about the 4 members of the Doors. It is not the Jim Morrison story.
    For better or worse I made a film about The Doors.

  71. Hi Tom,

    I didn’t expect a film about Mary Werbelow, I just brought that up as a point of interest to the blog and wondered if you’d talked to her as you did with the Morrisons, etc. Would also make a good DVD extra like the interviews with the Admiral and Co. But she does seem to want to be left alone.
    Hope things are going well as you bring the narration into port. Best, Jeff

  72. Hey Jeff,
    I know you didn’t expect a film about Mary. Forgive me if I went off a little bit. It wasn’t directed towards you but to an issue that is troubling me in general.

    It seems no matter how hard I tried to make a film about the Doors there appears to be an instinctive impulse from everyone (including me at times) to always keep seeing the 6 years as the Jim Morrison Story. It’s kind of like the announcer at one concert introducing the band as “Jim Morrison and The Doors.” I’m sure you know Morrison’s response; he refused to go on until the announcer correctly introduced them all simply as The Doors.

    It has been a real part of my effort with the film to honor this inclusion insisted upon by Morrison himself. But, at every turn the material keeps forming itself around Morrison. Some of this attention is understandable. He was by far the most eccentric; and I don’t mean that negatively. He was out there. His creative genius took him to the edge and a million miles beyond.

    At times I get the troubling feeling that my effort to honor the whole band is actually annoying a lot of people. And you know, after all the work that’s slightly depressing.

    So, that’s where I was coming from. I still believe in my original impulse to portray the whole band. I’m just realizing the resistance that is out there, no matter how “hardcore” the Doors fandom. To many of the fans it is apparently still “Jim Morrison and The Doors.”

    We’ll keep talking.

  73. Hey Tom,

    The information you’ve offered on all Doors members on your blog posts has increased my knowledge and respect for the Doors, so thank you 🙂 I haven’t even seen the film yet, but think your decision to focus on the whole band is a good one.

    Know it’s been a long haul, but don’t discount your artistic efforts. They’re spun gold, Tom. Don’t let anyone else diminish what you’ve done either. No, you can’t make everyone happy–but that doesn’t mean your creative work of art is annoying or letting anyone down.

    You’ve said it yourself–people’s feelings about the Doors are intense and personal. I think that extends beyond their music, and to the band members themselves. Many people connect with Jim and therefore want a Jim film. Robby has a dedicated following and people may want a film about Robby’s time during the Doors. You created a film about them, together (which, personally, I think is a great decision.)

    Remember that your directing episodes for Law & Order is what caught their eye for you to write/direct this film to begin with. You bring talent, heart, and a soulful intimate glimpse into whatever film you make. Even Living in Oblivion, which is a damn funny movie, has those precious heartfelt moments.

    You’re an incredible artist, Tom. Forget that and I’ll hurl tomatoes at you, k?


  74. Hi Tom , you did the right thing. The Doors are a band of four people not one. As much as Jim was their lead singer or face of the band it was always about the four of them. To me anyway. Any new news on Depp starting and if so how’s it going? Also any word on U.S. release dates??? Thanks Tom.

  75. Yeah Tom,

    I get it. Most of the stuff about the Doors has been the Jim Morrison Story (books, articles, Stone’s flick). But those who want that have already had that. So that’ll add to the freshness of your approach. People don’t know what they want until you give it to them. Morrison is a tough act to follow. He has the mystique that comes with doing great things and dying young. He hasn’t been able to speak for himself for almost 40 years so there’s the mystery/jigsaw puzzle aspect.
    But I love John, Ray and Robby. They each have a unique personality that balances out the Doors story. I think the “Doors by the Doors” book was supposed to be a tie-in to the previous incarnation of your doc (interview with the Admiral, etc.). It works great as the story of the 4 equally. The challenge for your film is to present that story without interviews, just narration. But from what I’ve heard the people with an affinity for the material love it.
    The thing I worry about more than the Morrison factor is that music is like sports; people don’t seem to want to see movies about them. Plus the tough market for documentaries. People see them as TV things. Hopefully yours will catch a wave. All you can do is make the best film you can, one you will be proud of. It’s still the Doors and their potential to reach people is gold. Take care.

  76. Lee – CLASSIC! Love it, especially the very last visual!

    Tom – was browsing through the Doors illustrated lyrics book I told you about, and something struck me. Some lyrics are credited to Jim, some to Robby, some to both. Even songs I always thought were Jim M only were written by both Jim and Robby together; they shared credit.

    It was a joint effort, not only between the 2 of them to write the song but between the FOUR of them to tweak, practice and perform it. We the audience hear the final result and may forget how much work was involved by everyone in creating it. To assign all the band’s success on one person (creative genius though he may be) does a disservice to the other 3 who made it work too.

    I think that’s only one of many reasons why the decision to focus on all band members in WYS was a great one, and I give you credit for making the effort.


  77. Hey Elaine,
    There is truth in your words. Thank you. I do believe my decision to focus on the whole band was a good one.

    Interesting revelation in light of all this: at Sundance some distributors got up and walked out in outrage, accusing me of using actors and re-enactments in the film. Then when they discovered it really was Jim Morrison, bearded, from his own film HWY, they got angry all over again, as if I had tricked them.

    I could never understand this. To me there was never any question the material should be in the film, that it was thuddingly obvious to anyone with eyeballs who the person was walking along the desert highway.

    But, now I’ve come to realize these people’s disbelief was actually based on a refusal, or unwillingness to believe; not an inability. For them, the only acceptable image of Jim Morrison (and The Doors) was of the pretty young Jim, beardless, shirt half off as he sulks precociously at the camera.

    They wanted the myth.

    I gave them something more.

  78. Hey Baron,
    Thanks, man. I appreciate your support. From my understanding Johnny Depp will begin recording this weekend. He’s doing it kind of loose, at his own pace, which I’m happy about.

    I’m not exactly sure when he’s going to finish but we’re all cooling out just a bit, not feeling the need to rush right now. We pushed like mad to get the film ready for Sundance and Berlin. Now, we’ve got a great new narrator and we have the time to make this final pass at the film as good as it can be.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  79. Hey Lee,
    Pretty cool montage. Looks like you had some fun with it. I find it fascinating that filmmakers (and audiences) required these words of completion to terminate the viewing experience. No one does it today. Why? At what point did it become permanently obsolete?
    Great graphics in them too.

  80. Hey Jeff,
    That’s very astute the way you point out that Morrison has been unable to speak for 40 years. It places tremendous focus and importance on what he does say now, in the film. Ray, John and Robby can speak and have done so. But for Morrison the mystery still remains and people are eager to penetrate it.

    My film does so, to a certain degree. I did not want to guess, or make sweeping postulations about his psyche so I tried not to at all. His father was declining rapidly when I began work so I was not able to speak with him directly. An interview exists with him though, filmed a year earlier, and this will be used in the DVD extras of When You’re Strange.

    But, I noted some of the clearer aspects of the Admiral’s relationship with his oldest son in the film. Ultimately, I discovered that if I had no proof for something then it was idiotic of me to suggest it.

    For the new insights that I had gained, I let the footage show us a side of Jim Morrison that rarely gets attention; his humanity and humor.

    I share your concern about the theatrical market out there right now; for documentaries–music ones in particular. But, you will see when you see the film that When You’re Strange is strange in its own way. It is a hybrid, part documentary, part musical deluge and part emotional narrative. At its best all three combine to make you feel you are standing right in the room only inches away from Ray, Jim, John and Robby.

    I think we have a really good shot at finding welcoming audiences.

    Good to hear from you.

  81. Hey there Tom,

    I’m pretty familiar with Doors footage and I can say the trailer worked for me, the using of footage in new ways and mixing it with rare audio. Also, I loved Jim Ladd’s voiceover. He’s the jock that introduced me to the Doors and keeps me rediscovering their music. It felt kind of personal (though I know he has a great relationship with the band). So the trailer alone blew me away.
    Crass Dept.: As far as marketing, this summer is the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Doors fans don’t need a reason to go, but for the general public the blitz of hype about Woodstock might give people a ’60’s nostalgia/interest. True, the Doors weren’t at Woodstock (except John, hanging out)but the Doors and the ’60’s are two great tastes that taste great together. The “Woodstock” film is going to be on DVD with 2 hours of recently found performances (and lots of hype); there’s events planned to mark the 40th; and Ang Lee has a film coming out called “Taking Woodstock”. So if the release happens around July or August, you might find people looking backward fondly (especially given the world today).
    Good luck with the narration. Give Johnny our best.

  82. Hey Tom,
    Thanks for looking at the ends. It’s true, our cinema-going ancestors did truly live in a more naive age. I can only imagine the use of ‘The End’ stemming from those at the end of story books.
    Anyway, your film looks just great and I can’t wait to see it, you should definitely design a ‘The End’ for the end of it.

    Hey Elaine,
    Many thanks for your kind words, glad you liked it. I was especially pleased with that final image too.


  83. Hey Tom,

    For those who refuse to believe in anything but the myth Jim (or have the inability) – I can’t imagine how many things they are missing out on in other areas of their life. Some of the most precious moments in films, books, and life require a person to see beyond what is expected, and not be confined by the self-imposed blinders over the eyes. It’s the keeping ourselves open that makes the journey worthwhile.

    I think Doors and DiCillo fans will see more, and be all the better for it.


  84. Hey Tom,

    I watched Delirious last night, in order to get to know your movies and perhaps get a feeling of what to anticipate from the Doors documentary (or maybe what NOT to). Buschemi gave one of his best performaces. The script and the movie exposed the main two characters and somehow made them very familiar.

    I won’t go on blabbering about Delirious, but I can’t I say anything about your documentary, either. The reason is simple. I haven’t watched it, yet 🙂
    Michael Pitt caught my attention though, as an actor who embodies some of Morrison’s qualities and aura, apart from his physique. I was wondering if you share any of this view. Pitt also played on The Dreamers, a movie decorated with lots of 1960’s fashion, music, politics and philosophy. There were moments when Bertolucci’s direction reminded me of Jim’s Notes On Vision, from when he was studying film: “Camera, as all-seeing god, satisfies our longing for omniscience. To spy on others from this height and angle”. That’s the only Pitt-Morrison connection I could up with, for now.

    Wish you the best as the documentary is nearing towards its completion. I’m not a fan of Johhny Depp’s voice to be honest, but it bears some youthfulness and coolness that might actually work. Have you any idea if there’s a chance of seeing When You’re Strange anytime soon in Britain? Thanks

  85. Hey Tom,

    I wanted to take a moment to say how much I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to readers who contact you here. Like your insightful commentaries on DVDs, it’s rarer than you’d think.

    Guess my blogaholism is showing. Between Irish tunes and corned beef and cabbage today, I was excited to stumble upon a few other Indie filmmaker blogs–except that they require signing up with the service to leave a comment, and even after I did that, it still refused comments completely. I understand the need to moderate comments (hell, I do that on my own blog) but to block them altogether from someone who is simply trying to compliment one of his films is just…annoying.

    So thank you, Tom. We all know you’re busy, but it’s good to know that if we want to compliment or ask something about your artistic efforts, you’re not blocking us from doing so. That says a lot.

    I think I just stumbled off my soap box. Either that or it’s the Guinness kicking in. Happy St. Patty’s, Tom. Thx,

  86. Hey Jeff,
    I’m glad you liked the trailer. We had Jim Ladd’s voice in from the beginning. When you see the film you’ll see how the radio announcer (Ladd) plays a real part in the story.
    I think you’re right about this summer being a good time for a US theatrical release. Depp has begun recording I believe. Once he’s done we’ll need some time to cut it into the film and adjust the timing of some of the edits to allow for his particular reading.

    It’s crazy, isn’t it; the Doors not being in Woodstock. I read a few differing reasons; Jim thought it was going to be just a few stoners in a field and he wanted more money; and the band didn’t want to play outdoors. What’s your take on why they didn’t do the gig?

  87. Hey Kostis,
    I’m glad you enjoyed Delirious. I agree with you that Buscemi’s performance was incredible. The fact he never even got a Spirit Award or Gotham nomination is staggering to me.

    And so now, your observation/question about Michael Pitt and Jim Morrison. Hmmm. Hmmmm. Well…

    I don’t think there is much of a connection. Michael is a fine actor and he is quite gifted musically. Morrison was an intellectual in the truest sense of the word. He was reading complex literature and poetry at a very young age. He always had a book with him. He knew what was going on in the world around him and his love of words and thought helped him describe that world in his music and poetry.

    Thanks for your thought-provoking comment.

  88. Hi Elaine,
    Thanks for your comment, but you know it really is my pleasure to communicate with people here. Most of the comments are illuminating and sincere. Even the ones that take issue with some of my films or my own comments are refreshing. It is a little time-consuming but I actually get a lot out of it.

    I get some great advice, some real support and in your case all of the above including great technical assistance. Thanks for the compilation of links to trailer of all my films. I will find a place on the site to post them. Kind of like moving furniture around.

    And I really should write another post…

  89. Hi Tom,

    Woodstock. From what I understand the Doors were too big. They didn’t want to do an outdoor show and they didn’t want to share a bill with anyone, let along many acts. During Woodstock, Jim was hiking near Palm Springs. But John, ever his own man, hitched a ride on a helicopter with the lighting guy. I remembered a close-up of John in the movie “Woodstock” but I fast-forwarded my VHS and all I found was a couple of background shots of John during Joe Cocker’s “With A Little Help From My Friends”. But he’s there. Congrats, John.
    The Doors realized it was a mistake not to do these festivals and didn’t make the same mistake when the Isle of Wight came around. Turned out to be their last filmed performance. There’s two Doors performances in the Isle of Wight movie “Message To Love”, but reportedly there’s enough for a DVD of their performances, like what was done for Jimi Hendrix. What I understand is the Doors don’t like their performance so it’s rare Doors footage that remains in the vaults.
    Another thing I’ll mention is we were talking about Robby’s songwriting. I watched the VH1 Storytellers DVD (the last time the 3 Doors performed together before the infighting started) and Ray was talking about how his then girlfriend Dorothy thought they should adapt Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht’s “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)”. Ray thought it was impossible but Robby figured out how to simplify it for a rock and roll song. So that’s another Doors staple that wouldn’t have happened without Robby, even though he didn’t write it.
    One last thing, and I don’t mean this as a knock. I love those guys and I think they would respect this question. But Robby wrote some of the Doors’ best songs; “Light My Fire”, “Love Me Two Times”, etc. I’m sure your doc shows it wasn’t just Jim. Yet, how come, after Jim died, there hasn’t been a memorable song from any of the band? The 3 did two albums together after he died, plus all these years since. I just find it curious. They’ve said the 4 of them was unique, but still… I think that adds to the Morrison mystique, that everything happened with him around. I don’t know. All 4 Doors will live forever and that’s something we all strive for. But where are the post-Morrison songs?

  90. Hi Tom

    Hope all is good.
    I was wondering, do you have any news regarding when a theater release of WYS in Europe is probable? I’m so excited to see the movie!


  91. Hi Tom, sorry to keep asking you but any news on U.S. release dates? Summer or Fall? Great to hear Jim’s father’s interview will make the DVD. Roughly how long will it take you guys to put Depp’s narration into the film? Lastly, will there be anymore festivals for WYS? With Depp obviously. Thanks Tom. Much appreciated.

  92. Hey Jeff,
    Once again some well-observed points. I use an extended sequence of The Doors performance of The End from the Isle of Wight. The only issue that I know of is Robby’s guitar was out of tune in the original and he played his whole performance again, in a studio, to correct it. It sounds amazing.
    As far as why the group’s musical output changed after Jim’s death; all I can suggest is that the purest, most potent chemistry of the band occured when the 4 of them were creating together. And there is nothing wrong with that. I believe there was some inexplicable energy that came out of that particular combination that was only possible in that particular combination.
    After all, Morrison did not leave any songs during his migration to Paris.
    Again, it is something I’ve come to believe after this year of intense research and something I tried to layer into the film. Jim Morrison was part of the Doors. This is when he was the most charged creatively. This is when they all were.

  93. Hello Alfredo,
    We don’t have any specific dates yet for Europe. We do have an invitation to the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain, and the Athens Film Festival in Greece. I think it is very likely the film will go to both.
    But, once again, much is dependent upon getting Johhny Depp’s voice cut in. Everyone believes that will have a great impact on theatrical releases in Europe and the US.
    Be patient.

  94. Hey Baron,
    My understanding is that Johnny Depp will finish the narration within a week or two. Then we’ll cut it in and shift picture if necessary to account for any differences in rhythm or timing. There is the chance there may need to be a couple of re-do’s, which is normal.
    So, the whole thing could realistically take a month or longer.
    Then we’re going to look at the most prominent US festivals excited about the film and re-launch it.
    Both the LA Film Festival and the Seattle Film Festival have invited the film and we are all excited about both.
    During this next period we will also be screening for US distributors again with the new version. Depending on their reaction we will then have a sense of who will release the film in the US and when.
    So, that’s the skinny, my friend. When I know, you will know.

  95. Hey Tom, I don’t know if this question has been asked but how much did you enjoy working on the film? I’m sure most of us posting on here would have sold our mother to be able to view the amount of footage you saw. Was it difficult to decide which footage to use and is there some that you wish you had thrown in there? Also, you mentioned that Jim’s father’s interview would be on the DVD but can you say what else is planned for the DVD?

    I’m looking forward to the film coming to England, it’s not the most exciting place for Doors fans 😉

    Thanks, James.

  96. Hi Tom,

    A Dutch news site is reporting that the DVD of ‘When You’re Strange’ will include an extra disc with Jim’s complete film ‘HWY’ on it. Is there any truth to this report? It’s the first anyone’s heard about it, and I wanted to see if it was something you might have mentioned. If it’s true, it would be fantastic news as the film deserves a release and this would be an excellent opportunity. Couldn’t ‘Feast Of Friends’ also be included? The “original” Doors documentary, as it were. I’d also hope Frank Lisciandro and Paul Ferrara could be involved by either providing interviews or audio commentary for both films as they were directly involved in making them with Jim. (I’m describing my dream DVD package here.) Frank has previously said there are about 15-20 minutes of unused ‘HWY’ footage which could be easily tacked on as bonus material.

    Thanks for your time.

  97. Hey James,
    That is actually a great question. I have enjoyed every second of this experience–and it is still continuing. I started work on Feb. 10, 2008.

    For the first 3 weeks all I did was look at footage for 10 hours a day. It all came from the Doors vault. None of it was labelled with a date or place. Most of it was silent; we didn’t find the sound until later. Most of it was in random fragments from all different years.

    And yet, every frame of it was mesmerizing. At this point I didn’t even know what the shape or arc of the film was going to be. Being hypnotized by this amazing footage gave me the idea to use only this material. I wanted to give the viewer the same experience I had. I wanted them to feel the power of being immersed directly in those 6 years of the Doors; and staying there for the whole film.

    Most of what I saw ended up in the film. There was nothing I wanted to use but couldn’t.

    It was also pretty mind-blowing to sit and talk privately with Ray, John and Robby. It took me quite a while to convince myself it was real. What astonished me was realizing how deeply these three musicians honored and revered Jim.

    Listening to all the Doors music again was a great experience. I’d heard it all my life but now, it was like hearing it for the first time; as if it was brand new.

    Going to Sundance with Ray, Robby and John, and to Berlin with John, was a huge high. Feeling their support of this film about their legacy was moving and rewarding.

    Some of the politics got a little hairy sometimes but they always got resolved and I feel confident that the film I made is the film I wanted to make.

    I think I may have erred in saying what might be on the DVD. I’m not really in the loop on this stuff. I know there was talk of including an interview with Jim’s father and his sister Anne but I’m not sure if it has been finalized. Any of those questions should go to the Rhino people.

    I’ve done a commentary on all my films. Most people have said they found them informative. I have not been informed as to whether I will do one for this film.

    Thanks for your comment. I feel very confident the film with come to the UK in a theatrical release.

  98. Hi Len,
    I know there has long been talk of releasing HWY on dvd but I do not know if the final decision has been made to do a separate release or to include it with When You’re Strange.

    As I said to James above, I’m not the first to know these things. Much of this is in the hands of Rhino Entertainment and Morrison’s family.

    I definitely think HWY should be released. I know Morrison was very proud of it. My use of the outtakes creates an entirely different character however. It is of course Jim Morrison but as I use the images of him wandering through the desert he becomes more like a soul on a journey; a quest to discover some meaning for himself and the band. It actually adds a great intimacy and emotion to the film.


  99. Hey Tom,

    I vote for a commentary on the Doors film, if the powers that be and the pieces that be can make it happen. Know I’ve said this before, but I’m really not a patient person when it comes to director commentaries. Have been hopeful with many a director for a good commentary, but I’m a true fan of only 5. And you’re the only one in the 5 whose commentaries I’ve listened to more than once.

    So I hope they put your commentary in WYS.

    Question – is there a commentary on “The Real Blonde” anyplace? I own a version which doesn’t have it, and wish there was one.


  100. Hey T-
    How goes it? You rested up? I feel a bit like BUG SPRAY, but I have to go down to Dallas for that AFI Festival & heard you may be there? If there is any truth to this-let me know-PLEASE! You know where you can e-mail me if so-that would make the whole trip worthwhile and then some-perhaps a bunch of us TFans could get you to regale us with your infinite wisdom & humor somewhere besides the internet? I listened to Will’s new stuff and it wails,of course-but you’re not on it…what’s up with that? Congrats on getting Johnny for the narration-both me & Will think that’s the part we were looking forward to the most-even before he was hired-because it’s your input.
    I love the Doors,but anything YOU come up with is something I’m dying to see-and I’m pretty sure you know that by now! I’m still writing my own version of ATLAS SHRUGGED, and have no memory of Politics whatsoever!

  101. Congratulation Tom for your film !!!

    I’m the president of the French Fan CLub, I can help you when you want. We hope to see your film in France (Paris !!!) very soon. I will help you to inform the french fans.
    contact me when you want !


  102. Hey Elaine,
    I guess I mispoke. Or losing my memory. Looks like I didn’t do a commentary on The Real Blonde.
    We’ll see what shakes down with The Doors film. My sense is that the producers are out of money and just want to get it finished. And perhaps with all the music and performance a commentary isn’t really the most appropriate. I think everything that could be said has been said here.

  103. Hey Ash,
    Great to hear from you. No, I’m not going anywhere for a while; at least not to Dallas; at least that I know of.

    We’re still waiting on Johnny Depp to get the narration recorded. I’m glad you like that idea. I’m pretty stoked about it my own self.

    I don’t have that much time these days to mess about with my music. Trying to get another screenplay out of my brain.

    I am extremely impressed with the way you sprinkle the nuggets from my various films into your correspondence. I can tell you’ve seen them.

    I wish you the best with your writing.

  104. Hello Nico,
    thanks for writing. I will definitely be contacting you when we know of the French release details. I appreciate your offer to help very much. I think the French fans will be very pleased by the film.
    I know there is an offer on the table from a good French distributor right now. But I don’t know the specifics. As soon as I know something I will email you.

  105. Dear Tom,
    I was watching comedy central this morning, and this movie kept me coming back to it, even during my early morning haziness, it had a real feel to it, flava as I like to say. Them your name pops up on it and I was like that is the guy that made “Box of Moonlight”, the movie that I barely found on the local video store, made me immediately buy the soundtrack and stalk John Turturro. He does not like that by the way.
    Thanks for making “films” that one can call “films” without being embarassed about it, a movie you can watch with construction workers or in a film class.
    Can you make a gumshoe detective movie?
    Enjoy spring,

  106. Hey Tom,

    Thx for clarifying. I’d have bought another copy just to get the commentary!

    Hope there can be one for WYS. If not, maybe they can do an interview w/you about your making the film? Or take snippets of various Sundance interviews? I really enjoyed the ‘stalking Delirious’ piece on the “Delirious” DVD; it was a creative way to convey the information.

    Your blog is fantastic and has covered a lot of ground for this film and Delirious…but it would be cool to have the commentary too. Guess a lot of things depend on budget. So many considerations for a film vs. book–I give you credit, my friend. Hope things go well –


  107. Hey Chris,
    This comment of yours is pretty amazing actually: “Thanks for making “films” that one can call “films” without being embarassed about it, a movie you can watch with construction workers or in a film class.”

    I don’t think I could ask for higher praise. I hope I don’t sound like a jerk but somewhere inside me I’ve had this lingering feeling/hope that if given a chance my films could indeed be appreciated by a large spectrum of people.

    Which movie were you watching on Comedy Central? I am putting the pieces together for a strange crime movie right now. It’s a great genre and I’d like to put my stamp on one.

    Thanks very much for your comment. I really appreciated it.

  108. Hi Tom, I guess with Johnny Depp rating # 1 on the person they would like to have dinner with is a big help getting a distributor huh? Doesn’t hurt that’s for sure. Thanks for keeping us in the loop on WYS. Best of luck on your new screenplay. We’re dying over here in Beantown to see WYS.

  109. Hey Tom,

    Noticed you added your film trailers to your links on the blog page! Cool 🙂

    There’s a DiCillo film for every kind of day and emotion imaginable; on certain days I crave certain films, depending on mood. And of course I wanna see more, so best wishes on your screenplay 🙂


  110. Hey Tom,

    I just noticed the alt hover text over your film preview links. Hmmm…bizarre. It’s a movie preview, for one of your films, and some of them don’t mention your name. Odd. Strange too that you weren’t part of the process.

    I didn’t know how that worked with film. I know for book cover art, the publisher has the final say-so, but the author is usually consulted for feedback at the very least.

    Anyway, I found another trailer for Johnny Suede. This one lists the credits (in tiny print) at the end. Not sure if I like this one better–they oooh and aaahhh over Brad Pitt in the preview. Anyway, thought I’d pass it along.

    K. Back to writing –


  111. I like Depp, but I hope he’s not too mumbly here, like his Dead Man and Gonzo narrations were, which had me looking for the subtitles.

  112. Hey Baron,
    Yeah, the distribs are pretty curious about the film now that Mr. Depp has come aboard. Rumor has it that he’s actually started which is exciting.
    You gots to be patient. I had to put all my hopes and expectations on hold after Sundance but I knew it would all come around. And it will. See, my friend; nobody knows nuthin. Nobody knew what to think about the film I made. So, without anybody telling them what to think all people could do was scratch their heads and opt for not doing anything.
    Now, with Depp’s narration the film is brand new. We’ll still need some luck but we’ve got something great now and I know you and your fellow Beantowners are going to see this movie at a theater.

  113. Howdy Elaine,
    Yep, put the trailer links up, thanx to you. It’s crazy, even the trailers have their nightmare stories. Everything in this business is a battle. It’s a constant struggle to prevent the morons from turning everything into shit.
    Thank god I love to fight.
    Thank you for the links.

  114. Hey Scott,
    I hear your concern about Depp. Personally, I think he’s too smart and too good of an actor to not come up with something that will work great in the film.
    As I mentioned to Baron above, I’ve heard he’s started. I’ll be as curious as you are to hear what he’s done.

  115. Hi
    Very good job!!! can you tell me when we can see it in FRANCE, cause there is a lot of people who waiting for ?
    I think You are the first film maker who represente Jim Morrison as a great human being and not like Oliver Stone who show us Jimbo and not Jim Morrison.
    Sorry for the langage but i’m French guy.
    Thanks a lot ……………………….. see you soon

  116. Hello Jerome,
    Thanks for writing. I do not know exactly the date you can see it in France but I can tell you that the film is coming. So, just wait until we get Johnny Depp’s narration in and then things will become clearer.
    Yes, this was the attempt, to make Jim Morrison a real human being. I think some people will be excited about this. But, I think some others will not want him to be a human being. They will only think of him as the ‘myth’ or the ‘legend’ and may not find the pleasure that I found in bringing him back to earth.

  117. Tom,
    I heard about this documentary being done and quite by accident stumbled upon your page here but you are bookmarked now. I’ve read the blogs and watched the vids on your homepage and find myself extremely curious about this film and looking forward to experiencing it. As a fan of the music, I realize I didn’t really know a whole lot about the men behind the faces. I’ve been to the Doors exhibit at the Rock Hall in Cleveland but that was only enough to whet the appetite as it mostly appeared focused on Jim Morrison. I’m going to take your advice and stay away from reviews until I’ve seen the movie myself. I don’t normally pay much attention to what the reviews say anyway. Sounds to me like you’ve gone in for the real story and that’s what I’m interested in seeing. Sending wishes your way for all to be well and for the movie to begin moving along again. Good luck on that screenplay you are working on.

    Take Care,

  118. Hello Ruth,
    Thanks very much for writing. I greatly appreciate your openness to just letting the film speak for itself. I spent a year working on it and I know myself well enough to say it was all worth it.

    Some of the lengthy books written about Morrison and the band will probably provide much greater detail about their lives. But the film attempts to show them alive, to bring them into the present moment and I think it succeeds.

    We’re still waiting on Mr. Depp. There has been a nice invitation to the LA Film Festival but if he doesn’t finish soon we might not be able to go.

    The screenplay is coming. Thanks for your support. I too wish you the best,

  119. Hey Jeff,
    I’m sick of the teasing my own self. Believe me, everyone is working hard to get this film into the hands of a smart, committed US distributor.
    My understanding is that this is progressing. There could be a theatrical release by Spring if this deal goes down. I’ll let everyone know as soon as it does.

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